The Techlash looms large in social media news and it will certainly define social media in 2019, but there are other exciting things happening. Messaging is coming into its own, social listening is becoming accessible to SMBs, and expiring content is now part of the marketing toolkit for many brands.
Solving the Techlash
People are upset at Facebook. And Google, Twitter, Amazon . . . there’s a lot of upset tech customers right now for all kinds of reasons. Bad data protection, eroding privacy, loss of trust; there are more than a few sources of bad feelings out there. And it’s also true that some of those bad feelings are caused by ignorance on the part of the public. But some of that anger is quite justified.
All complications aside, trust has become a major issue for social media users and it’s up to businesses that use social media to figure out how to prioritize their customer’s trust. Those who haven’t lost any trust will have to be proactive in demonstrating their trustworthiness, and those who have had trust damaged will have to work extra hard to regain it.
Constant Algorithm Tinkering
We all know that Facebook’s algorithm changes constantly. We know that they don’t share what exactly it prioritizes. And we know that there’s a whole industry devoted to reading the proverbial tea leaves and telling everyone else what goes into the algorithm.
However, we’re already seeing bigger and more frequent changes in that process. Facebook is facing some serious issues. Timelines have become rife with conspiracy theories and fake news. Meanwhile, the company is being accused of bias from multiple sides. This means that Facebook has been very active in changing how content gets to timelines in an effort to both crack down on fake news and deal with accusations of bias. Anyone using the platform to share content will have to monitor engagement levels very closely, as it’s easy to get caught up in the negative effects of an algorithm change.
Messaging & Chatbots
We’ve previously written about all the creative ways businesses are useing (or were just starting to use) chatbots. Sure, they’re replacing some call centre jobs, but they’re also helping automate low-level HR tasks, driving sales, and boosting engagement. But back when we wrote this in early 2017, chatbots were taking baby steps. Now, they’ve taken off running. In fact, by 2020, chatbots will handle 85% of customer service interactions. They’re entering new spaces, like healthcare. And a clear majority of customers actually like them. Other areas of social media are experiencing trust issues, but when it comes to chatbots, customers are happy to trust an algorithm.
Widespread Social Listening
Social media isn’t just for brand amplification and engagement. Customers also use it to tell you what they want from you. With social listening tools, brands can get really granular data on what people say about them on social media. These insights can help companies focus more on what customers value. For example, a niche soft drink company might find that they have a bit of a following amongst Twitch streamers. Or a lotion company might find that they’re usually mentioned in conjunction with diapers and other baby products. Social media represents an enormous dataset for brands to study. With the cost of social listening products dropping, more companies in 2019 will start drawing insights from that dataset.
Expiring Content for Brands
In a world where tweets from 2009 can get you in trouble, it’s no wonder lots of customers like expiring content, such as Snapchat or Instagram Stories. Of course, there’s more to it than that. Content shared on these platforms can be less polished and more ‘authentic’, which is why brands are piling onto the trend. For example, Warby Parker offers exclusive eyeglass frame deals to their Snapchat followers, which, of course, expire. UCLA Athletics and other university sports programs use Instagram Stories to capture behind-the-scenes content (like interviews and practice) with their athletes.